The Japanese House: On The Rise
I first saw Amber Bain, the solo artist usually known as The Japanese House, as a support act for The 1975 in 2016 at the O2 Academy in Brixton. A new indie band, with an interesting, moody sound, set the foundations for Matty Healy and his troupe to create the religious-experience that was the performance of their newest album. After the show, I found The Japanese House on Spotify and their music reminded me of bands like Wolf Alice or Pale Waves, and so I was hooked.
Two years later, following the release of the singles ‘Lilo’ and ‘Follow My Girl’, The Japanese House began touring the UK, hitting the US on December 1st and then on to a European home run. The low ticket-prices and intimate venue brought me to my first experience of Bain performing as an individual artist in Leeds on the 23rd of November.
The Brudenell Club is a small venue, described as a “working men’s club”; the décor is that of a small-town local, with 1950s furnishings – not much to look at. However, having hosted notable names such as Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, and even Jeremy Corbyn, there is more to it than meets the eye. With a concert room of only 400 people at maximum capacity, the atmosphere was alive with anticipation to see The Japanese House begin their set.
After an enchanting performance by Art School Girlfriend (not unlike Bain’s support of The 1975 in its aim to get the audience buzzing) The Japanese House opened with ‘Face Like Thunder’, a fan favourite, and immediately the tightly packed crowd was hypnotised. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, Bain performed a well-perfected mix of The Japanese House’s popular singles and the newer releases for a two-hour set that was both parts energetic and emotive. The casual ambience, almost like being at a house party, with that mixture of alcohol and fluorescent blue light, reflected perfectly the mood of the band; approachable and heartfelt, like you could go for drinks with them after the show. Bain played guitar, synthesizer and keyboard alongside her mesmerising vocals, with a small supporting band of three others, showing the ability to create a fusion of sound mostly on Bain’s artistic talents alone.
The Japanese House’s newest singles retain the hazy, grungy characteristics that make their sound so easy to identify, but show Bain’s progression as an artist, her music reflecting effortlessly “the perfect hallucination” she describes in ‘Saw You in a Dream’. The music video for her new song ‘Lilo’ features Bain and her own ex-girlfriend acting out their own fall out of love; a bold, emotional move and something we would not have seen in 2015 when The Japanese House first surfaced.
At only 23 years old, Bain’s broody lyrics and dreamlike musical sound has created a set of truly poignant pieces of music that are setting her up seamlessly for her first album release in 2019, and the path to becoming an international star - her performance at The Brudenell Social Club demonstrating the insane song-writing and instrumental talent that Bain has to offer. The Japanese House has grown massively since supporting The 1975, in fan base and confidence; seeing Amber Bain perform live is an experience you don’t want to miss.
Check out The Japanese House's music below: